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The Coffin At The Foot of My Bed

When I was collecting day-in-the-life stories from property managers across Texas for my book, I Have A Complex, But I'm Managing It!, I heard some pretty wild tales! Every time I thought I'd heard the craziest thing possible, someone else would contribute a story that would have me rolling with laughter. It's like I've said, "If you've been in property management for fifteen minutes, you have a story!"

One of the things that surprised me the most was the abundance of vampire stories I received. Yes, that's right—vampires! It seems there's an abundance of people fixated on living like these creepy, blood-thirsty creatures. Who'da thunkit?

There was one submission in particular that I'll never forget. In it, a property manager tells about sending maintenance into an apartment. The poor guy was stunned when he entered the resident's bedroom and discovered that instead of a bed, there was a large coffin pushed against one side of the wall!

In addition to finding this story somewhat disturbing, it reminded me of something that happened to me in the past.

As I make my way back to Blaine, Washington for my Bob-dad’s memorial service, I’m flooded with thoughts about this remarkable man. I know I’ve mentioned my mom Franny in past posts and what a fun-loving person she was, but some of my fondest memories revolve around pranks in which they were in cahoots together. This particular one not only scared the bejeebers out of me, but Bob and I were still laughing about it the last time I saw him.

“I’d like a large wooden trunk,” I told Bob one day. “Do you think you could build me one if I bought all the materials?”

Always eager for a project, Bob nodded his head. “Of course,” he said, grabbing a notebook so I could sketch out what I had in mind.

“Nothing fancy,” I explained as I handed him back the pencil and pad of paper. “But it needs to be white-washed so it matches the rest of our bedroom furniture. I’m going to store quilts in it.”

“Hmm,” he said thoughtfully. “I could build it out of white oak. That’s an excellent wood with a light finish.”

I watched as he drew a magnificent trunk with a domed lid and shook my head. “No, it needs to have a flat top so we can also use it as a bench.”

Bob was already starting a new drawing as I spoke. “Got it!” he said with a smile. “So, what you’re wanting, young lady is something more like this?”

He turned the notepad around so I could see his sketch. There it was! My long wooden trunk. “Perfect!” I declared happily.

The smile never left Bob’s face, but I could see he wasn’t too jazzed about what he’d drawn. “That’s a box. It’s just a plain, long box. Are you sure we can’t make it a little fancier? I can carve some designs in it along the bottom or even on the lid.”

I laughed at his doubtful expression. “I know how you love to go all out on everything you do, but what you’ve drawn is exactly what I had in mind. Plain—yet elegant!”

He shook his head. “Okay, Miss Monica. If you want a plain, boring box, I’ll build you a plain, boring box!”

After completing the design and making a list of the required materials, we went to Bob’s favorite haunt; Home Depot. Now, I always wander around in this store like a lost lamb, but this was my dad’s stomping grounds. On a first-name basis with most of the employees, he was definitely in his element!

Bob started the trunk, but unfortunately for me, got sidetracked by some other more pressing projects. I was in no real hurry for it, so I figured he’d finish it whenever he had the time.

A couple of months later, my mom called and asked if she could come over and swim when I got off work. “Of course,” I said. “Is Bob coming, too?”

“No, he’s got Lion’s Club tonight, so it’s just us gals,” she replied. “I’ll see you later!”

When I arrived at the house, mom’s car was parked out front and she’d already let herself in through the garage. “It’s so hot out there!” she remarked. “I can’t wait to jump in your pool, but first I have something to show you!”

“Okay,” I said as I headed toward my bedroom. “Let me get out of my work clothes. It’ll just take me a minute!” Realizing she was on my heels as I walked, I turned and smiled at her. “Why are you following me?”

“Because what I have to show you is in your bedroom!” she explained. “Go on—check it out!”

As I made my way into the room, I stopped short. “Oh, my gosh! It’s beautiful!” I exclaimed, staring down at the long trunk that ran the length of the foot of my bed. I ran my hand along its smooth, polished surface then promptly sat down on it.

“Why didn’t you tell me you guys were bringing it over today?” I asked as I started removing my shoes. “James would have helped Bob carry it in. I know this thing weighs a ton!”

“You know Bob,” Franny said. “He can always figure out a way to get anything from Point A to Point B. He wanted to surprise you so he came over earlier in the truck and delivered it. Don’t you love it?”

“I love, love, love it!” I cried, standing and pulling her into a big hug. “I’m going to call Bob and tell him as soon as I get my swimsuit on!”

“Wait! Aren’t you going to look inside the trunk?” she asked. “It’s really lovely inside.”

“No, I don’t need to see the inside. There’s nothing in it!” I started walking to my closet but Franny called me back.

“Monica, Bob worked really hard on this trunk. I think you should look inside of it," she insisted.

"I know Bob put a lot of work into the trunk and I really appreciate it!” I told her.

The determined look on my mother’s face told me that I wasn’t going to do anything else until I looked inside the trunk.

I was lifting the heavy lid, but looking at Franny as I teased, “Why are you insisting I look inside? Is there another surprise for me?”

At that moment, I caught something moving out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look back at the trunk and there was Bob, slowly rising into a sitting position like Dracula awakening for a midnight hunt.

I screamed so loudly I think I scared Bob half to death!

Meanwhile, Franny was doubled-over in laughter.

When I was finally able to speak, I offered Bob my hand and helped him out of the trunk. “Okay. You guys got me,” I admitted. “That was terrifying!”

My mother later explained that from the moment she’d seen Bob’s sketch, she’d been referring to my trunk as “the coffin”. He'd been lying in that hot trunk for nearly an hour waiting for his big moment. "I thought you were never going to open that lid!" he told me.

I still have the trunk and though I treasure it along with everything else handcrafted by Bob, nothing else he made brings a smile to my face more than when I’m lifting the lid to “the coffin”!

2020 Closet ClotheSure Challenge Week 24

Well, folks, it's a short work-week for James and me as we head out to beautiful Blaine, Washington! Although we're not super-excited about traveling so far away from home right now, there are some things we need to take care of there.

That being said, Monday-Wednesday, when we'll actually be in the office, our time will be spent working in our hot, over-crowded (and completely disorganized) warehouse. So, full disclosure, with the heat index popping up and well beyond the 100-degree mark, I'll actually be wearing shorts and a t-shirt to work.

In the spirit of continuing on with Closet ClotheSure, I've gone ahead and "outfitted" for the next two weeks. I guess I can use the phrase that came in handy when we were "sheltering in place" and refer to the next few days as: What I Would Have Worn To Work This Week!

So, here we go—

Monday -

This sharp, French-blue outfit from Albert Nipon Suits was given to me by my dear friend, Janet. It's the perfect summertime suit. The fitted jacket features accent stitching along the collar and lapel. This same artistic touch is repeated along the lower bottom of the piece. I adore the color and the classic fit.

It's definitely a keeper!




Tuesday -

I'll start with the pants. They're definitely getting the boot! I purchased them online at Ann Taylor years ago during one especially "skinny" season. I've found that most Ann Taylor clothes seem to run a little large. This is especially true with slacks in tall sizes. I have several size six pieces from Ann Taylor that actually do fit, but not these.

Which brings me back to the long, black tunic top I picked up at J.C. Penney's. (Worthington) It's doing a great job of hiding a whole lotta not "feeling like a ten" business—especially in the back!



Wednesday -

Here's a nice pop of color! This high-energy suit from New York & Company is a personal favorite. Because of my "freakishly" long arms and legs (I'm 5'10" & have a 36" inseam) I normally have to order jackets and trousers online.

I wasn't disappointed when this suit arrived. It's actually kind of a pinky-red and gives me the perfect opportunity to break out my only pair of lizard skin shoes! These exquisite red pumps were handmade and also given to me by my friend Janet. They have just enough heel for the pant length and are extremely comfortable to wear.

Oh, and the white necktie blouse is also from New York & Company. It's a go-to piece that I wear under a lot of my suits and jackets.




From Bob's Garden -

Bob was also an excellent gardener and was blessed with a green thumb. Here are a couple of shots taken last September. He wanted his ashes placed beneath the apple tree in his amazing backyard. We'll have a small memorial service for him tomorrow. I'm so comforted to know that he accepted Jesus Christ shortly before he passed.

Precious memories!

God bless you all and remember He is in control and hope is on the move!







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